Ryan Howard: Phillies have played very well this year

Ryan-HowardThe Philadelphia Phillies have started the season 3-6 and are in last place in the NL East. Considering they finished the 2013 season with a 73-89 record, very few people are surprised. One person isn’t discouraged by the slow start, however. A certain optimist actually thinks the Phillies are playing well. You know him as Ryan Howard.

“In all actuality we’ve actually played very well this year,” Howard said Thursday before the Phillies lost yet again, per Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. “I disagree with everybody else. Our record doesn’t necessarily reflect that right now, but, you know, we’ve played well. We had three real bad games. So the only thing to do is go out there and try to win again.”

Have the Phillies simply been victims of a series of bad breaks? As Lawrence noted, they have committed seven errors in the past four games. Philadelphia is batting .263 as a team, which isn’t horrible. Howard, who currently owns what many have called the worst contract in baseball, is hitting right where we all expected him to — .200 with one homer and three RBI. He has one hit in his last 18 at-bats.

Is it time to panic? Of course not. We’re nine games into a 162-game season. That said, the Phillies have gone straight downhill since they won 102 games in 2011. Their roster is filled with aging superstars who can’t stay healthy and just don’t seem to have it anymore. If Howard wants to pretend the 2013 Phillies have a bright future, that’s certainly his prerogative.

H/T Hardball Talk 

Umpires lose track of the count during Ryan Howard’s at-bat (Video)

Expand instant replay! Expand instant replay! No, just kidding. Although I do think instant replay needs to be expanded and we need to make use of the technology we have at our disposal, the situation that arose during the Phillies win over the Reds on Thursday was just comical.

Ryan Howard nearly drew a three-ball walk in the top of the third. As you can see from the accelerated recap of his at-bat that CSN provided, Howard was thrown a ball on a 2-2 count and the home plate umpire awarded him first base. You could tell Howard was surprised when he looked back, but naturally he took the base. Reds pitcher Mike Leake also looked confused, and the umpires got together and eventually called Howard back. When I say eventually, I mean it took a few minutes to sort out.

For a while, it appeared that nobody knew the count. Perhaps everyone had just mentally checked out of the game since it was already 6-0 in the third. When I first saw the clip I thought we were heading for the first even fan appeal. That would have been a sight to behold.

Fist pound to The 700 Level

Ryan Howard Likely Tore His Achilles on Last At-Bat of Season

As if making an out to end your team’s season (for the second year in a row) wasn’t bad enough, Ryan Howard also likely injured his Achilles leaving the batter’s box. The Phillies first baseman was helped off the field after grounding out to end Game 5 against the Cardinals. He was also seen using crutches to get around the clubhouse after the game. Speaking following his team’s loss, Howard seemed certain he had torn his Achilles tendon.

“I was trying to run and just felt this pop,” Howard said, describing the injury. “It felt like the whole thing went numb, like it was on fire, and I just tried to keep going and I went down. It literally felt like I was on a flat tire. I tried to get up, just couldn’t do it.”

Howard told reporters he thought he tore his Achilles. He’ll have an MRI to confirm the extent of the injury.

Can you think of a worse way for a season to end? You’re the top team in the NL in the regular season and you get shutout in a decisive Game 5. Your cleanup hitter makes an out to end the game, he likely tears his Achilles, and oh yeah, the team that beat you gets to celebrate on your home field. Just about everything that could have gone wrong for the Phillies went wrong. I’m surprised Roy Halladay’s arm is still intact.

Photo Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Howard F-Bomb (Video)

There isn’t really much to explain here, and there probably isn’t much time to enjoy it since it’s only a matter of time before MLB pulls the video. A certain Phillies first baseman was unhappy when he was unable to get on base during the 7th inning against the Diamondbacks Thursday night. Enjoy the Ryan Howard f-bomb video while it lasts, and keep in mind the language is obviously very NSFW.

Ryan Howard Super Wedgie

Bad news for Philadelphia Phillies fans today as their $125 million dollar man, Ryan Howard, left Sunday afternoon’s game against the Nationals with a sprained left ankle and a strained butt crack. The second part of that is a joke, of course, but I can’t imagine his ankle is the only thing hurting after seeing the Ryan Howard wedgie picture. Aren’t trainers supposed to make players feel better?  For the sake of Phillies fans, let’s hope this atomic wedgie doesn’t slow the healing process for their all-star first baseman. Thanks to The Big Lead for the photo.

Ryan Howard: My New Favorite Philly

My list of favorites continues to grow this week.  The latest addition; Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.  Not long after inking a contract worth $125 million and becoming the second-highest paid player in the MLB, Howard is rumored to be dating Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks who, like Rory McIlroy’s girlfriend and Doug Wilson’s daughter, happens to be incredibly fun to look at.  If the rumors are indeed true, I’m happy for Ryan and glad he decided to take the Tom Brady approach to being a superstar athlete.

Howard’s resume is impressive, to say the least.  He’s gone from dating a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader to a Victoria’s Secret model, who happens to have appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue which always helps a woman warm a sports fan’s heart.  I think the only logical thing to do here is have a competition.  We need to figure out who’s hotter — Ryan Howard’s old girlfriend or alleged new girlfriend.  Okay, we don’t need to, but it’s fun.  Here are some pictures of Ryan Howard’s girlfriends, Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader Krystle Campell and Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks:



Make that one vote for Ebanks.

Ryan Howard Dating Model Selita Ebanks? [The Big Lead]
Ryan Howard’s Girlfriend is an Eagles’ Cheerleader [The Big Lead]
Photo Credit: SI Vault

Phillies Make Howard Second Highest Paid in MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies took another step toward preserving the longevity of their National League dominance today when they gave first basemen Ryan Howard a 5-year, $125 million dollar extension.  Howard is already under team control through 2012, so the new deal keeps him in a Phillies uniform through 2016 with a team option for 2017.  The average annual salary of $25 million makes the left-handed slugger the second highest paid player in baseball — behind Alex Rodriguez, of course.

By locking up the 2006 NL MVP for six or seven more seasons, the Phillies have put together a solid core of players for years to come.  Roy Halladay — who has been dominating thus far in his first season in the NL — is under team control through 2013 with an option for 2014.  All-star second baseman chase Utley is also signed through 2013.  Howard and Utley alone give Philadelphia one of the most powerful infields in the game.  The team also can keep Jimmy Rollins through next season by exercising his 2011 option.

Howard’s contract situation had gotten a bit shady lately as his arbitration number has skyrocketed with each passing season.  There were even some rumblings earlier this season that the Phillies were entertaining trade offers, which were quickly squashed.  I like this move a lot for Philadelphia.  It may not attract as much attention as bringing in a free agent superstar would, but resigning your own players — especially when they’re a perennial MVP candidate who has helped you reach the world series the past two years — is always a smart move.  The Phillies are taking all the right steps to remaining a dominant force atop the NL East for years to come.

Phillies sign Howard through 2016 [ESPN]
Contract Info: Cot’s Baseball Contracts